Friday

18th Oct 2019

Nato in show of strength ahead of Warsaw summit

  • Anacaonda-16 will see, for the first time since WWII, German tanks cross the border into Poland (Photo: nato.int)

Nato has begun three military exercises - Anaconda-16, Baltops and Iron Wolf 2016 - designed to show it is ready to defend its eastern allies from Russia.

The Anaconda-16 war game in Poland is the largest of its kind since the end of the Cold War.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Lavrov: "This will activate the Russian sovereign right to protect itself" (Photo: consiilium.europa.eu)

The 10-day drill involves 14,000 US soldiers, 12,000 Polish ones and up to 1,000 British troops out of a total of 31,000 personnel from 24 nations.

In one event on Tuesday, 1,130 paratroopers will practice landing in Torun, northern Poland. Other drills will see an emergency bridge built over the Wistula river and a simulated night-time assault by 35 attack helicopters.

It will also see, for the first time since WWII, German tanks cross the border into Poland.

The Baltops (Baltic Operations) exercise, which takes place every year and which also began on Monday, involves 4,500 troops in Nordic and Baltic countries.

It will include hundreds of soldiers from Finland and Sweden, which are not in Nato but which are cultivating closer ties because of Russia's aggression in Ukraine.

Iron Wolf 2016 involves 5,000 troops and will take place largely in Lithuania and Latvia.

The drills come ahead of a Nato summit in Warsaw in mid-July that will see the alliance firm up plans for a Russia-deterrent force in the region and that will see Montenegro join the mutual defence club.

The Russia deterrent force envisages new command centres and arms depots in the region.

At the same time, the US is finalising plans to switch on components of an anti-ballistic missile shield in Poland and in Romania. Poland itself is creating a 35,000-strong force of reservists.

Russia has spoken out against what it calls Nato’s build-up in the region.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin on a recent trip to Greece said people who host US anti-missile bases should get used to being in Russia’s "crosshairs." He is going to Finland later this summer.

Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday: “We do not hide that we have a negative attitude toward the Nato line of moving its military infrastructure to our borders, drawing other countries into military unit activities.

“This will activate the Russian sovereign right to protect itself with methods that are adequate for today's risks.”

Franz Klintsevich, the deputy head of the defence committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, went further. He told the Russia's Interfax agency that Nato was preparing a “global strike” against Russia.

Nato has countered by saying that Russia held more than 800 war games in the region last year, most of them unannounced in violation of international accords.

Some experts such as Ian Brzezinski, a former Pentagon official who now works for the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington, have predicted that Russia will stage a provocation ahead of the Nato summit in Poland.

But Petr Pavel, a Czech general and senior Nato official, recently told EUobserver that such a move was unlikely.

“I don’t believe that, in the current circumstances, Russia will try to destabilise the [Nato] summit," he said at the Globsec security conference in Bratislava in April.

"They’re trying to be more open and to enter into a dialogue, so any bigger provocation wouldn’t suit that purpose.”

EU envoy sheds light on weird US diplomacy

Remarks to Congress by the US ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, have shed light on the unusual nature of American diplomacy under president Donald Trump.

Macron warned on danger of Balkans veto

France's veto on North Macedonia enlargement will endanger the Serbia-Kosovo peace process, a senior EU official has warned, but diplomats do not expect Macron to change his mind.

News in Brief

  1. Commission: Facebook's Libra needs international approach
  2. Italian PM: denial of accession talks a 'historic mistake'
  3. Catalan president blames clashes on 'infiltrators'
  4. US imposes €6.7bn new tariffs on European products
  5. G7: Libra should not operate until all risks addressed
  6. Kurds agree with US-Turkey ceasefire but not safe-zone
  7. US to host 2020 G7 summit at Trump golf club
  8. Turkey's pension fund buys stake in Finnish defence firm

Column

These are the crunch issues for the 2019-2024 EU commission

These developments will largely determine who will be running the world in the coming decades and perhaps generations. If the Europeans can't find an answer over the five years, they will be toast. And we haven't even mentioned climate change.

Opinion

Time to pay attention to Belarus

Belarus may be hosting the European Games, but Vladimir Putin is not playing games when it comes to Belarus' independence. The West needs to get serious as well.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  2. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  3. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  4. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  6. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  10. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  12. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us